Many times when working with clients they are only able to get to 3 – 4 hours worth of work accomplished. It’s not that the physical work is so exhausting. It’s their mind that is tired. They are tired from making decisions about what to keep, what to give away or what to donate. It’s really the emotional exhaustion they are feeling. So we end it at half a day and schedule another. But there is nothing wrong with that. Much can get accomplished in half a day. This difficulty is not only a symptom of someone with hoarding tendencies but we all go through a difficult process of purging items at one time or another.
One of the first things I like to begin with is having my clients define their goal? I try to get them to pinpoint (as best they can) what their goal and desire for a specific area. So as we are working through the process and they are making decisions that are bringing them further from their goal, I can redirect them.
It is also good to establish a few simple rules for deciding what to keep, what to give away or what to donate. For example, if you have an abundance of newspapers or magazines, you could make the rule that anything older than 3 months you will toss. Or for clothes, if you haven’t worn them or fit into them and it’s been a year, then it’s time to donate or give away. Once you make the rules, write them down so you have a solid guide to go by as you are going through your items.
When a client tells me they want to keep something “just in case” or “it might be needed later,” this is a trigger for me to probe deeper with some questions. Here are those questions … and they might be beneficial for you if you tackle a de-cluttering job on your own.
- How many of these items do I already own? Is that enough?
- Am I making this item important at this moment because I’m looking at it right now?
- How up to date is this item?
- Is it easy for me to understand how to utilize or operate it?
- Have I used this item or one like it in the past year?
- Is it of good quality?
- If I didn’t own it, would I buy it again?
- Do I have a defined plan to use this in a reasonable time frame?
- Do I really have time to read it?
- Do I really have time to use it?
- If I gave it away and needed it down the road, how easy would it be for me to get it again?
- Is there space for this item?
- If I gave it away or tossed it, would it help solve my clutter or hoarding problem?
- Does this item align with my needs and my values?
Answering these questions above can help get you closer to your goal of a de-cluttered, peaceful home or office.
Some individuals like to follow the O.H.I.O Rule; which is Only Handle It Once. The theory behind this is you pick up an item and make a decision right away. You don’t put it back down unless it’s in the donate pile, toss pile or it’s permanent home. I don’t usually follow this rule because sometimes clients are struggling with a decision. I’d rather put the item down and move on and get back to that item at the end. Many times at that point the decision comes to them quickly. If I “forced” a decision the first time, they may still be holding the item for fear of making the wrong decision.
Decision-making can be hard but it doesn’t need to be impossible. Perhaps going into your de-cluttering process by acknowledging it will be hard and perhaps painful will actually make it a smoother process. Many times in order to get to the other side you need to push through.
So you’ve taken the hardest step and that was to make a decision that you are ready to de-clutter. The next step is following through with your decisions.
If attempting this project has overwhelmed you, then consider hiring a Professional Organizer like myself. I would be honored to guide you to your goal and help bring you a sense of peace and accomplishment.
Your Organizing Expert … Believing in You!